California

STATUS:

Marriage

WINNING MARRIAGE:

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, dismissing the case and declaring that the proponents of Proposition 8 lack legal standing to appeal the lower court rulings that have already invalidated Prop. 8. The historic ruling makes permanent the August 2010 Federal District Court ruling that found Prop. 8 unconstitutional and will result in the swift restoration of the freedom to marry in California, making the state the thirteenth (plus Washington, D.C.) where same-sex couples can marry. After marriage is restored in California, nearly one third of the U.S. population - more than 93 million Americans - will live in a state where same-sex couples can marry. Read the full ruling HERE.

The Supreme Court decision was the culmination of a long road toward the freedom to marry for California. 

In May 2008, after decades of public education, advocacy and political leadership on marriage in California, the California Supreme Court ruled in In Re: Marriage Cases to uphold the freedom to marry. In subsequent months, an estimated 18,000 gay couples were married in virtually every county of the state.

In November 2008, the California electorate narrowly passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment designed to supersede the court and prohibit same-sex couples from marrying in California. Supporters of the freedom to marry, led by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), filed a lawsuit seeking to find Prop. 8 unconstitutional.

On August 4, 2010, District Court Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process. The case proceeded to higher courts, which have ruled Proposition 8 time and again to be unconstitutional.

On February 7, 2012, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Perry v. Brown, and in a 2-1 vote, chose to uphold Judge Vaughn Walker's previous ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Proponents of Proposition 8 petitioned for an en banc rehearing of the case, asking for the case to be retried by an 11-judge panel. On June 5, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request for an en banc rehearing. 

On December 7, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States granted review to the case, now Hollingsworth v. Perry, and oral arguments in the case were heard on March 26, 2013. On June 26, the Supreme Court announced its ruling. Marriages began in California just a few days later, on June 28. Read all about Proposition 8 HERE

POLLING DATA:

A wide majority (61%) of California residents support the freedom to marry. (Field Poll, March 2013) 

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:

  • Equality California is the largest LGBT advocacy organization in California.
  • Vote for Equality/The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center is an organization working to advance the freedom to marry through grassroots action, voter education, and leadership development.
  • Let California Ring is a public education campaign to open hearts and minds about the freedom to marry in California.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. 
  • Marriage Equality USA is a grassroots organization based in California working for federal and state marriage equality.
  • Courage Campaign is an online organizing network that empowers grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change in California.
  • California Faith for Equality is a group bringing together clergy and lay leaders throughout California who support equality for LGBT people.

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 98,153 same-sex couples are living in California, representing 7.8 same-sex couples per 1,000 households. 

Blog Posts Related to California

Q&A: ‘First Comes Love’ creator prepares for release of beautiful new book

Next week, on September 26, another step of one photographer's mission of compiling a beautiful collection of portraits of loving, committed same-sex couples will come to fruition when Barbara Proud's First Comes Love book is released.

Photographer works world-wide to create a ‘visual catalog of gay men around the world’

This year, photographer Kevin Truong set out on a mission: To photograph as many different gay men in as many different places around the world as he could. Check out these 7 wonderful new stories from same-sex couples in states across the country where Kevin has traveled to in the past few months.

San Diego Mayor Faulconer (R) signs on as chair of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry

This week, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer became the newest chair of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, a coalition of nearly 400 mayors from across the country who support marriage for same-sex couples.

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Resources Related to California

Latino Support for the Freedom to Marry

Recent public opinion data show that Latinos – especially Latino Catholics – widely favor the freedom to marry, both nationwide and in key states.

Poll: Majority of Californians Continue to Support the Freedom to Marry

A Public Policy Polling survey found a majority of California voters in support of the freedom to marry.

Testimony: Nancy F. Cott Defends Equal Marriage Rights

An article adapted from Harvard Professor Nancy F. Cott’s expert report submitted in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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